At the same time, the festival aims to do much more than showcase Parks's enviable talents. Each company is free to stage the plays as it sees fit, giving the festival a panoramic scope that takes in the diversity of the whole theatrical scene. This kind of coordinated national grassroots effort — something Parks described as an extension of a process of "radical inclusion" — has probably not been seen since the days of the Federal Theater Project in the 1930s.
According to Parks, many of her best ideas for the stage have come from entertaining spontaneous ideas others would prudently dismiss after a gratifying chuckle. (Two African American brothers named Lincoln and Booth? Why not?) In her telling, it was her husband, blues musician Paul Oscher, who first responded affirmatively from the couch to her spontaneous idea to write a play a day for a year. "Yeah?" she asked. "You really think it's a good idea?" That, apparently, was enough. The rest is theater history. SFBG
365 PLAYS/365 DAYS
Through Nov. 12, 2007
This week: Fri/24–Sun/26
Oakland Public Conservatory of Music
1616 Franklin, Oakl.
Pay what you can, $15–$25 suggested